Sound — 9
First of all, if you've never listened to The Dear Hunter, you can't just listen to one or two random songs and judge it from that. You need to start at the beginning of an album and listen, really listen, and then try and deny that it's good. The music is so dense, that I still discover new sounds after having listened to their albums consistently for two years. The Dear Hunter is essentially a progressive rock band that incorporates multiple different musical instruments and even spans genres. It also all tells an epic story of a boy in WWI-era who goes on a journey. The first album, Act I, covers his birth and the story of his mother, Act II concerns love and heartbreak, and in this album, Act III, he goes to war and loses his innocence. I didn't think that The Dear Hunter could possibly do any better than Act II, but I can definitely say they matched it, if not surpassed it. This album is f--king EPIC. Seriously, it spans so many genres, it's sometimes hard to believe a song is the same, only to realize that it IS the same song and you're only halfway through! Casey Crescenzo, the writer and singer, clearly put a lot of work into this album and it shows. The production values are amazing, the levels perfectly mixed, turn your speakers up loud and it will blow your mind. This album is extremely innovative, and all of the songs are amazing. Standouts are In Cauda Venemum, What It Means To Be Alone, and He Said He Had a Story. But seriously, every song is good. I don't think that The Dear Hunter categorized alongside bands such as Chiodos and Circa Survive. They belong in a category of their own.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics, as always, are great and always interesting. At times, they even tell story in a way that almost sounds like you could be seeing it as a musical number. The song "He Said He Had a Story" tells the story of the main boy sleeping with a prostitute, but it is told from his perspective, as if he was talking to his friends. If you listen to the background singers, they are actually responding to what he says. "I broke a smile reminding that I paid her well, her lips returned and then I felt her hands unbuckling my belt" Background vocals: "So was it good?" "Oh it felt like heaven, but I'm sure she was in hell. I made it clear I'd get my moneys worth out of the goods she sells." Overall, the lyrics are great and tell the story well, without taking focus away from the music. Casey Crascenzo's singing on this album is incredible. He has gotten even better on this album, and he switches so many styles of singing that it's hard to label him as having a normal alternative rock voice. I mean, this guy can sing. He can be screaming at one point, and riffing a gospel number the other. He also has an awesome falsetto, and puts a lot of emotion into his vocals.
Overall Impression — 9
I can only think of one bad thing about this album - that it can be hard sometimes to listen to entirely through without stopping because A. It's pretty long, and B. It can be a little overwhelming after a while. A lot of the songs are really intense, amazing intense, but still intense, so you have to be in a certain kind of mood to listen to it. I wouldn't put this album on if you wanted to really relax. Aside from that, this album is amazing. All the songs are awesome, you can listen to this album over and over and still find something new every time. If it were stolen, I'd take a pineapple and find the person who took it, then rape them with it. Just put yourself in the right state of mind to sit down and really focus on some amazing music. Spark up a j, turn the speakers up, and listen to this album. You wont regret it, I promise.